Wow. I can't believe I waited so long to start this book. And I only did so at the behest of a few friends who said that the first book was good but t...moreWow. I can't believe I waited so long to start this book. And I only did so at the behest of a few friends who said that the first book was good but the others in the series are even better. If the first book is any indication, the rest of the series must be phenomenal!
That said, this book is kind of a downer. Zombies run rampant. The humans that have survived thus far have fenced themselves in, but still there are attacks. Yet, the ruling individuals in the village just outside the reach of the Forest of Hands and Teeth, the Sisterhood as they are called, have created some semblance of order. The residents of the village look to the Sisters for guidance, for survival. Except Mary.
Mary has heard stories all her life of the ocean. She doesn't want to stay trapped within the fences meant to protect them all; she wants to see the ocean her mother told her about, the one she still believes exists.
I liked Mary's character, the way she was written. Some see her as selfish for wanting what she does, for not wanting what is right in front of her. But in times of great despair, aren't our dreams and wishes all that keep us going? Mary just wants hope, like anyone else might. She just doesn't make very good decisions when going about it. She hurts people without even realizing it, and for not seeing how she affects others, she is selfish. But it's part of what makes her such a great main character; she's not perfect.
The author's writing is such that I was pulled into the story immediately. I felt the characters' losses, their heartaches, their fear. I was on the edge of my seat till the bitter end, always wondering if Mary ever would get to see the ocean. Carrie Ryan truly is a masterful storyteller. I've already started The Dead-Tossed Waves and can't wait to tear through it so I get get to the last one. I'm sad that it took me so long to read this series, but at the same time, I'm kind of glad because now I don't have to wait for the next installment to be released. They're all right at my fingertips!(less)
One of my top five favorite books ever. Seriously. It's that good. The writing is phenomenal. The story is ridiculously good. The characters are well-...moreOne of my top five favorite books ever. Seriously. It's that good. The writing is phenomenal. The story is ridiculously good. The characters are well-developed.
I am very much looking forward to seeing this book brought to life on the big screen.(less)
Venom started out as a very difficult read for me. If it hadn’t been for a slew of reviews raving about this book, I might not have felt compelled to...moreVenom started out as a very difficult read for me. If it hadn’t been for a slew of reviews raving about this book, I might not have felt compelled to finish it, even if I did request it on an ARC tour. But I am nothing, if not determined, and so I forged on…and I was handsomely rewarded with a tale of mystery, romance, and intrigue that twisted and turned more than a corkscrew.
The hardest part of this story for me, aside from the pacing in the very beginning, was the speech patterns of the main character. I love historical fiction, and I knew Venom was set in Renaissance Italy; the research the author did on that front shines through. Even the behaviors remarked upon in the book seemed relative to the time period. It was simply the dialogue (mostly between Cass and Falco) and Cass’s own inner monologue that did not seem cohesive to the Renaissance era. It just didn’t seem formal enough, especially considering Cass is a member of nobility, and maybe it has something to do with the fact that Falco is not. But maybe I’m also expecting too much because I recently read My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, and though that was a fluffier read than Venom, it grabbed my attention from the very beginning and really made me feel as if I were walking the streets of Renaissance Italy as I read.
Cass was not my ideal protagonist, either. She wants her independence, her freedom to choose who she loves and where she goes, but her efforts are thwarted time and again by her stodgy aunt or her maidservant. But even with a murderer on the loose, Cass constantly puts herself at risk to seek the answers she so desperately craves regarding her friend’s missing body, the odd hours Falco keeps, and the many secrets of Senore Dubois and Dottore de Gradi, in addition to actually trying to find the murderer. Sure, Falco is her near constant companion on her quest for the truth, but even he seems dangerous. And she’s putting others’ well-being at risk with her endeavors, including the maidservants who are covering for her in her absence. I guess my biggest problem with Cass’s character is her faltering sense of honor.
It would be careless of me not to mention that there is a love triangle in this novel, though it isn’t truly present until much closer to the end of the book. Falco is that cocky, arrogant, enigmatic son-of-a-bleep that you don’t want to fall for, that you try your hardest not to fall for, and then what do you do? You fall for him. Well, most girls will anyway. He was definitely swoon-worthy, but I’m faithful to a fault. And distrustful as all get out. Why was Cass seeking out Falco for secret, steamy moments when she’s engaged to the doggedly faithful Luca? Even if she doesn’t love him and it’s only an arranged marriage, there was such a thing as honor back in those days. Sure, the gallivanting behind Luca’s back is more fun to read about, but for shame, Cass. For shame. But, and this is a small concession, I never truly trusted Luca either. For all of his undying faithfulness, his character isn’t as straightforward as he’d like everyone else to believe. But this book is built upon secrets and lies and seduction, after all, and where would the fun be if both male points of this love triangle were the perfect guy?
As I was reading this story, I was fully prepared to rate it at three stars. It was simply an "okay" read for me. But then the proverbial stink hit the fan, if you know what I mean. Another murder. Luca comes home. Mada's wedding. And once that pacing picked up, it did not slow down. And as sure as I was that I had everything all figured out, every piece of the puzzle where it belonged, I was thrown off course again and again. Not many books come across my reading pile that can throw a serious curveball that I don't see coming, but Venom managed to do just that. Fiona Paul is a whiz at misdirection, in addition to her ability to create such a picturesque setting. The open ending left me a little wanting, but I'll definitely be picking up future installments in this series because I am sooo curious about the Order of the Eternal Rose. I just know the story behind that will keep me glued to the pages!
"How terrible it must be to be a member of the noble class. So many rules. Such restraint. You must feel like a caged bird, battering its wings against the sides of its golden prison."
“Cass felt torn in two, like the sky split by lightning. One side guilty. One side wanting. She froze, statue-still, as Falco’s lips brushed against her earlobe and then moved down and across her jawbone. His mouth hovered in the air, a parchment width away from hers. Eternities came and went.”
"I know you want this as much as I do," he said. "You aren't going to report me. And even if you did, I'm inclined to think a night with you might well be worth imprisonment."
“Everyone else was apologizing to God for their sins, and here she was dreaming up some new ones.”
“He described marriage as much like a cage full of birds, where the unmarried struggle to get in and the married struggle to get out."
Dawn of Eden, prequel to The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa
First, let me say that although this is a prequel to the Blood of Eden series, you don't h...moreDawn of Eden, prequel to The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa
First, let me say that although this is a prequel to the Blood of Eden series, you don't have to know anything about that series to enjoy it. If you have read The Immortal Rules, you'll definitely enjoy this short story more because it takes place right at the turning point, when things went from bad to worse, and the characters happen upon a familiar face, one that I didn't even realize how much I'd missed until their identity became clearer. In fact, there were quite a few familiar things, which kind of made this book feel like coming home.
Second, this short story is a bit more mature than a lot of YA, including The Immortal Rules. It doesn't detract from the story; I just wanted to give fair warning. Actually, the (sometimes graphic) sexuality of the book fits the intensity of the situation. Baser instincts take over when survival is on the line, when your world has been turned upside down and you're not sure whether you'll see the light of another day.
I really enjoyed this short story. I actually had forgotten how much I enjoyed The Immortal Rules and its post-apocalyptic/dystopian take on vampires and the surviving humans. It was interesting to see how the plague originated and how people reacted to it...and to those that it changed. The reactions were so believable and realistic, with the characters reflecting on losing their humanity along with everything else they'd already lost.
This is a great addition to the Blood of Eden series and has me anticipating The Eternity Cure even more than I already was. Because as much as I liked the characters in Dawn of Eden, I am so ready to return to the aftermath and all the characters I've already grown to care about: Allie, Zeke, and (hopefully) Kanin.
Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre
So, I don't know why I was under the assumption that this short story was a precursor to the Razorland series. Maybe it's the names...they seem reminiscent of the ones given to the brats once they were of age. (I was probably thinking of Thimble, right?) At any rate, once I got past the fact that this was a new post-apocalyptic world Ann Aguirre had created, I found it much easier to immerse myself in the story.
In fact, this story flew by once Thorne's character was introduced, which is honestly pretty early on. He plays a rather important role. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Mari's no-holds-barred attitude, but all her plans went out the window the minute Thorne Goodman stepped into her life. Don't expect any big romantic declarations of undying love or anything like that, though. These characters have their own complicated lives to get in order before they can find time for love...though, they would make a very good match.
This short story is a brief glimpse into a dying world, where half the population lives in opulent fortresses while the other half struggles outside the fortress walls, paying "the bossman" for safety. But no one is really safe on the outside. The degradation and squalor of this world is due in part to chemical spills and earthquakes that ravaged the landscape many years before, but the people have done nothing to slow its further decline. And that's sorta where Mari Thistle and Thorne Goodman come in.
I really, really hope that there's a full-length novel planned to follow this short story. The intensity of this story and the pacing both kept me riveted, but the world itself has me intrigued, as well. The colorful cast of characters doesn't hurt either. All in all, this was an explosive story sure to delight fan's of Aguirre's Razorland series. Here's hoping there's more where this came from!
Thanks to Harlequin & Netgalley for providing a copy for review!
I think I liked this one best in the series so far. Sure, Faythe is still impulsive and her mouth gets her in a ton of trouble, but she's at least act...moreI think I liked this one best in the series so far. Sure, Faythe is still impulsive and her mouth gets her in a ton of trouble, but she's at least acting a little more mature and taking her role in the pride more seriously, especially now that she's on trial and looking out for a 13-year-old tabby while she awaits the verdict. Her behavior toward her relationship with Marc is even more suitable for someone her age. In short, Faythe has grown up quite a bit in the last three novels, and I'm glad to see it happen. She couldn't act like a rebellious teenager forever, bad as she might want to.
Same narrator as the first two books. Still doing a great job in her portrayal of my favorite werecats.(less)
I do not like these books. I am not impressed with the writing and find myself wondering how anyone could have seen anything in it that would have mad...moreI do not like these books. I am not impressed with the writing and find myself wondering how anyone could have seen anything in it that would have made for a worthwhile tv show. (Though I do enjoy the show immensely.)(less)
You don't have to read this before you read Pandemonium (Delirium #2) but you do have to read it. Wow. Interesting to see things from Hana's perspecti...moreYou don't have to read this before you read Pandemonium (Delirium #2) but you do have to read it. Wow. Interesting to see things from Hana's perspective, but wow.(less)
Second books in a series are usually my least favorite, but not in this case. I loved it. Full of action and surprises and more Katniss and Peeta and...moreSecond books in a series are usually my least favorite, but not in this case. I loved it. Full of action and surprises and more Katniss and Peeta and Gale. Plus, new characters! More action!(less)